Drawing from almost 200 scientific studies on workplace meetings, a team of psychological scientists provides recommendations for making the most out of meetings before they start, as they’re happening, and after they’ve concluded. Their report is published in Current Directions in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Seven Sure-Fire Ways to Win a Meeting
Original story published in fall 2015 on the UNO News Center
There are over 11 million meetings a day in the US alone. Evidence suggests that between 25 and 50 percent of meetings are viewed as ineffective or interruptions to the attendee’s work. However, there are many techniques we can use to get the most out of our meetings.
Determine if everyone really needs to be there, and start out by establishing what the goals of the meeting are.
Researchers in UNO’s psychology department have been getting to the bottom of how to make a meeting as efficient as possible. Whether you are a supervisor, staff assistant, intern or student, we all have meetings.
Here are seven ways you can make sure you get the most of your meetings:
- Establish why the meeting is important. Too many attendees can lead to distraction. Studies have shown that the number of participants in a meeting is negatively related to attendee involvement. A majority of meetings, as many as 70%, are considered poorly run. When meetings interrupt employees’ work schedule and rhythm, they are viewed as hassles. Over time, this can lead to an overall decrease in well-being. Determine if everyone really needs to be there, and start out by establishing what the goals of the meeting are.
- Encourage open discussion. Employees who contribute their thoughts and ideas in meetings with organizational leaders will also have a desire to engage in their work more fully. Attendees are more likely to feel like a valued team member if they are encouraged to participate. Past studies have found that individuals’ level of participation in meetings was positively related to performance and greater commitment in carrying out the course of action decided upon during those meetings.
- Start and end on time! Take a break, too. Being punctual shows the attendees that their time is valued. Meetings that follow a good time courtesy are viewed as less disruptive and they assist with work scheduling and task coordination.
- The environment matters. Research has shown that meetings are more effective if they take place in a quality facility. Paying extra attention to details like lighting, meeting space, the type of refreshments, and temperature might seem frivolous, but having the right environment is crucial. Positive physical characteristics of the meeting setting can lead to greater comfort for attendees and create an environment that facilitates the attendee’s ability to focus on the meeting task without distraction.
- Laugh! Humor patterns trigger positive socioemotional communication, procedural structure, new solutions, and are positively related to team performance. A few good jokes can do a lot more than build your team’s identity. Previous communication research suggests that humor can enhance listeners’ attentiveness and facilitate persuasion and meeting interaction as well.
- Have conversations beforehand. Pre-meeting talk impacts the content, processes, and outcomes of workplace meetings. These conversations can be used for social bonding, forming group identity, and positive relationship building, which is especially important for those employees who are introverted. Small talk satisfies meeting participants’ need for positive face time with others in the organization in a casual, non-work related form of conversation.
- Everyone should have a say in the final decisions. People like to feel appreciated. Meetings should serve as a time to demonstrate respect and support for the attendee’s efforts on the job. Studies suggest that employees view the opportunity to participate and be heard in the decision-making process as a reward.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.